Developing Your Brand
Are you looking to develop an online presence? Do you want potential readers to recognize your work at a glance? Do you want to get started without hiring a professional—or several professionals?
While I am most certainly not an expert, I am currently on this journey. Below is a list of steps I’ve already taken and those I plan to take in the weeks and months ahead:
Determine Your Primary Focus
I’m eclectically interested and eclectically involved. I continue to write on a wide variety of topics and don’t see that changing anytime soon. There is a lot of talk these days about “niching down,” narrowing your focus. However, one option is to bring a wide variety of topics and products under one umbrella. I’ve settled on “Nurture and Inspire.” It gives enough flexibility to branch off in a number of directions but establishes expectation in the audience.
Purchase Domain Name
It is wise to own yourname[dot]com. You may also want to purchase yourname[dot]ca, yourname[dot]io, yourname[dot]store, etc. There are new options becoming available all the time.
While I own stephbethnickel[dot]com, I’ve recently purchased nurtureandinspire[dot]com to promote and sell the indie published books and other products I plan to develop. Of course, I plan to use my new website to nurture and inspire those who will never make a purchase from me as well.
Select a Website Host
Upon the recommendation of Kirsten Oliphant of Create If Writing, I have gone with SiteGround as the host for my new site. Ask around and see what host your fellow authors, writers, and other creatives use. And remember, you can always change hosts if your first choice doesn’t meet your expectations.
Develop a Basic Website
I have developed several WordPress sites over the years and have found it extremely easy to do so. If you’re going to be selling from your site, your best option is wordpress[dot]org. If you find the idea of developing your own site intimidating, watch a number of step-by-step tutorials. These can be helpful even if you have previous experience.
Choose Colours and Fonts
I considered leaving out this step, but using consistent colours and fonts on all your products and wherever you have an online presence can make your brand recognizable at a glance, which is a real benefit. Because of my eclectic tastes, I may find this a challenge.
There are many benefits to being consistent. But when it comes to developing your brand, using the same colours, fonts, profile picture, writer’s voice, etc. gives your audience an idea what to expect. Remember, you can change any element if you find it no longer reflects who you are or the product you’re creating.
Build an Email List
By all rights, this should be higher on the list, but it isn’t something I’ve formally set about doing. I have numerous online connections and some of them will sign up for my email list when I get serious about creating it, but I have to get back to creating consistent content before I actually have something to offer those on an email list.
The more content creators I spend time with online, the more I realize they are among the most generous people around. Many of them offer a plethora of valuable free content with absolutely no high-pressure sales pitches.
Still, when they have a new book or other product to sell, they seek to build anticipation, so when they launch it, it will sell. And as one author put it, if he didn’t think his book would be worth the price to the reader, he had no business selling it in the first place. Something to ponder.
I have signed up for ConvertKit but haven’t created an email series yet. It’s a costly provider but comes highly recommended and has great customer support.
Develop Your Product
Wait! What? I know you’d expect this to be at the top of the list, but developing a brand isn’t simply about creating books and other products to sell. There is so much more to it. Creating content, whether we give it away or sell it, must be ongoing, something we work on while we’re taking all the other steps to developing our brand as well.
Never Stop Learning
Books. YouTube videos. Podcasts. Blogs. Online communities. There are so many excellent resources available. Just remember there comes a point you have to implement what you’re learning
Get Professional Help as Needed
Does some or all of this seem overwhelming? There are professionals who can help you with every step of the process. Don’t feel you have to do it on your own.
Take One Step at a Time
Don’t worry about understanding it all or getting it all “right.” Just take the first step … and then the next and the next and the next.
This is far from a complete list, but it gives you an idea of some of the steps you can take to develop your brand and get your work into the hands of readers.
What have you done to develop your brand that you’ve found particularly effective?